Bad Bokashi Update

Back on July 5th, I wrote about some really “bad” bokashi waste I dumped out on my lawn (see “Bokashi Gone Bad!“), after it had been sitting in the buckets for more than 2 years. Aside from needing someplace to put it (certainly wasn’t going to dump it on my worm beds!), I was also quite curious to see how long it took before composting worms started colonizing it.

In all honesty, it took a fair bit longer than I expected! I figured that if it aged for a few days and sat through a good rain at some point, the worms would be all over it. As it turns out, they haven’t really started moving into it until fairly recently – and it’s by no means crawling with them just yet!

The material has certainly gone through some changes during this time. There has been a serious reduction in volume, and it looks and smells much more like organic waste being decomposed aerobically. Even though the worms haven’t seemed all that interested in it, countless other critters have colonized it during the last couple of weeks, undoubtedly contributing to the overall breakdown and stabilization of the heap.

I decided to dig around a bit more this morning, and did see quite a few worms. There seem to be a fair number moving in to the cardboard sheet I poured everything onto.

Red Worm and Springtails
Red Worm and LOTS of tiny springtails!

What’s interesting is that there were a LOT more sitting underneath the cardboard, in the mats of rotting grass that used to be part of my lawn (haha)!

I have a feeling that if I had buried the material in one of my outdoor beds – once it had become a bit more aerobic, and had been rained on – the worms would have been all over it. I suspect that the small size of the pile and the fact that it is sitting out in the sun contributes to its lack of appeal (and helps to explain why there are a lot more worms underneath).

Anyway – it was a fun little experiment, and an important reminder of the fact that we should ALWAYS be aiming to keep our worms’ food and habitat as AEROBIC as we possibly can!

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    • Nic
    • July 20, 2010

    WOW! your worms are HUGE!! >.<

    • Bentley
    • July 20, 2010

    LoL – don’t be fooled by my camera trickery, Nic!
    Those are pretty tiny springtails, and this was a close up macro shot.

    • Diane from Fredericton
    • July 22, 2010

    Not sure what “bokashi waste” is but looks like a pile of yuck! LOL

    In early spring I read on the net to put weeds in a plastic container with water for a few months before putting them in the compost… so I tried it… well it looked like THAT (your pile for yuck)… and the smell was worse than any portapotty visit I’ve been to. LOL Needless to say I won’t be doing that again. Yuck Yuck Yuck.

    The neat thing about the experience was realizing how fast it dried up and the smell went away… a matter of hours. And two days later it looked like a pile of dry straw. I’m thinking that worms would have liked it, but only for the first 24 hours. Not the best environment once dried up.

    Thanks for your continual experiments. I reallyenjoy reading about them.

    • Souks Widji
    • August 17, 2010

    Worms like eating bokashi, but not living in it.
    When I add bokashi to one tray of my worm farm, the level of activity stays about the same.
    However on the tray below there is an explosion of worm numbers, feeding on the run-off.

    • Bentley
    • August 17, 2010

    DIANE – That’s interesting, and certainly similar to some experiences I’ve had myself. I actually made the mistake of adding a foul material like your weeds (I did the same thing but with grass clippings) to a bin and ended up with some dead worms. Now, if something smells really foul I know it needs more time to age – it can be added to a worm composting system AS LONG as the worms can stay away from it for as long as they want.
    SOUKS – That’s a good way to put it. And when you add too much to a bin, you are essentially making them live in it (which leads to trouble). Your strategy with the stacking bin sounds like a great approach.

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